The roof on your home is one of those things you often take for granted. Sure, you know it’s there, and it’s got an important job to perform, but as long as all is well you don’t give it a second thought. Here’s the thing, just like all the other items in your home, your roof has a lifespan. Not only that but it isn’t immune to damage, and that damage can result in costly fixes inside the home if it starts to leak.
As a homeowner, it’s important to always be aware of the condition of your roof, take proper steps to maintain it, and know when it’s time to call in a professional, either for repairs or a complete roof replacement. To help arm you with the knowledge you need, here’s a look at some tips and advice you can use.
Do a Roof Inspection from the Ground
The first step in being aware of the condition of your roof is to make it a habit to do a visual inspection from the ground on a yearly basis. If you’ve had a particularly bad season of storms with lots of wind, heavy rain, and even hail, then you will want to do that inspection more often.
Sure, you won’t be able to spot all issues from the ground, but you will be able to see if it’s missing sections of the roof, or if things are blowing or flapping in the wind.
If you have any suspicion that there are issues happening outside of your line of sight from the ground, it’s never wise to head up onto the roof yourself. Not only is it incredibly dangerous, but damage can only be assessed by an expert with experience. You can always have a professional roofer come out and take a look for you, providing you with details and even photos of the condition of the roof.
Be Mindful of the Roof’s Age
It’s also important to be mindful of your roof’s age. Age isn’t everything, and there is no set point where you “have” to replace the roof, but there is a general timeline that a regular roof follows. In general, slate and tiled roofs tend to max out around the 50-year mark, but wear and tear can set in well before that and require you to replace the roof much earlier than you may have expected.
Take Preventative Steps to Prolong Its Lifespan
There are a number of preventative steps you can also take over the years that will help the roof to last as long as possible.
These steps include:
- Cutting back branches and overgrown bushes that may be leaning/lying on the roof. You want to have about a 10-foot clearance from your roofline to any greenery and trees. Branches can puncture and damage the roof, plus they create a lot of debris up there with the leaves dropping.
- Clean out the gutters each spring and autumn. In order for the drainage to work properly on your roof and not allow water to pool, the gutters need to be free of obstacles and blockages. This is a relatively simple job, but be sure that you’re using a ladder safely and have a spotter.
- Set up a regular roof inspection, whether that be once a year or once every couple of years. This will help to identify areas of concern before they become too much of a problem.
Know What the Red Flags Are
So, what are the red flags that can arise and mean that your roof needs professional attention and quickly? There are actually a few signs.
One of the most obvious is a roof that is leaking, resulting in water damage inside your home. This is a pretty serious issue and isn’t one that you want to ignore. The quicker you get the roof looked at, and repaired, the less damage the leak can cause.
Keep in mind, water damage in a home can result in a massive clean-up project, especially if the dampness that it has caused starts to grow mold. The problem is that soft, brittle slate that is “failing” due to age will start to absorb moisture, which leads to rot.
Another sign is missing tiles/slate on your roof. Now granted, this can be hard to see from the ground, especially if your roof has a lot of peaks and valleys. But if you are seeing bare spots so to speak, then this is a big red flag. Again, you don’t want to climb up to the roof yourself, but it may be helpful to use binoculars to get a better look. Experts suggest taking a look from across the street so you can see more at once. Look for missing, slipping, cracked, tiles or those that look pockmarked.
If you encounter any slate on the ground that has fallen/blown off the roof, you can try tapping on it by using your knuckles. If it sounds dull, there is a chance they are “failing” in terms of the condition.
Tips for Hiring a Roofer
It’s also important you know what to look for when hiring a roofer, either for repairs or a full replacement. You want to find a company that is experienced, has a full range of roofing services, are registered and/or licensed, is fully insured, and guarantees their work. Don’t be afraid to ask for references when you’re speaking to various companies as well.
Belfast Roofing Services is a great example of just such a company. They are also available for emergency repair services, which, unfortunately, tend to happen when you least expect it.
Staying Informed as a Homeowner
As a homeowner, it’s really up to you to stay informed on the condition of your house, keeping on top of things and acting before small problems can become massive issues. Knowing how to maintain the integrity of your roof, what signs to watch for, and what to look for in a roofer will ensure that your home stays in tip-top shape.